A £1.3m boost to the economy is predicted as Galgorm Castle hosts one of the highlight events of golf’s European Challenge Tour schedule.
More than 40,000 spectators are expected to attend the Northern Ireland Open tournament running at the championship course, August 10-13.
Now in its fifth year, a brand new format including a ‘Shootout Sunday’ is expected to add to the excitement of the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council-supported event, which also has a hospitality area and food village.
The Mayor, Councillor Paul Reid said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming over 40,000 spectators to Galgorm this year. The global media coverage of the Northern Ireland Open really helps put us on the map as a tourist destination and enables us to market our fantastic sporting and tourism facilities to a global audience.
“It showcases all that the borough has to offer for golfing fans and international visitors bringing with it considerable economic benefits of around £1.3 million to our tourism, hospitality, retail and transport industries.
“I would like to thank the organisers at Galgorm Golf Club and our partner sponsors for their sustained efforts in bringing this event together and for their continued belief in Mid and East Antrim as a top class location for international events.”
Five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey is among the competitors. Another player to watch is Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy who has recently turned pro.
Action gets under way from Thursday with 156 players teeing up ahead of the traditional 36-hole cut, before a 54-hole cut followed by five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches in what promises to be a dramatic Shootout Sunday.
Among the interested supporters will be Niall Horan, who when not busy creating chart-topping hits is championing grassroots golf and taking an active role with the NI Open as one of the directors of Modest! Golf, the tournament’s Presenting Sponsor.
Entry to the NI Open is free, register at www.niopen.golf